What is a callus?

Calluses (also called corns) are thick, hardened layers of skin that form on areas of your skin that are exposed to friction and pressure.  Hard calluses can appear on the toes, specifically the outer surfaces.  

What causes a callus to form?

Calluses are a product of the skin’s response against friction and pressure.  With increased trauma the skin thickens to protect itself. Too much pressure can be a result of:

  • Tight footwear
  • Gait abnormalities that cause rubbing
  • Toe deformities
  • Bony prominences that bump into shoe edges

How is a callus treated?

In healthy individuals calluses and corns don’t require treatment unless they cause discomfort.  The goal of therapy is to remove the source of friction and pressure that caused the callus to form in the first place.  Individuals who have diabetes or a condition that causes poor circulation to their feet are at a higher risk of complications from corns and calluses and require advice from a medical professional.   Some ways to decrease pressure and prevent corns are:

  • Shoe padding to prevent pressure
  • Advice on proper fitting footwear
  • Use of foot orthotics for increased support
  • Surgical correction of any bony prominence